Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Opening batsman Aaron Finch could make his Test debut next month after being included in Australia’s squad for the two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Finch was one of five uncapped players included in Australia’s squad, with the other four being pace bowlers Brendan Doggett and Michael Neser, all-rounder Travis Head and batsman Marnus Labuschagne.
Veteran seamer Peter Siddle was recalled to the side, while opener Matt Renshaw kept hold of his spot.
However, there was no place in the side for all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, pace bowler Jhye Richardson, and batsmen Joe Burns and Peter Handscomb.
“Joe, Peter and Glenn were players we discussed when selecting the batting group, but we had to take into account the conditions and competition we are set to face in the upcoming series,” selection chairman Trevor Hohns was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “All three remain on our radar for Test cricket, but we want them to perform for their states and continue to push their case ahead of what is going to be a big Australian summer.
“Jhye is a player who has a bright future in all formats, and has been impressive in his international opportunities to date. He is one of a number of developing bowlers adding to the depth of our fast bowling group, and we see him potentially having an important role to play in the shorter formats of the game in the immediate future.”
Siddle, who was branded a “warrior” by Hohns, last played Test cricket in November 2016.
Despite a gap of almost two years since his last Test, Hohns is confident that Siddle will enjoy a successful international comeback.
“Peter is a proven performer in the Test arena, who has been in outstanding form in his recent first-class outings over in England,” Hohns said. “His experience will be crucial for this bowling group, and we know that he is a warrior who can bowl the type of long, tight spells which may be required in the conditions we expect to face.
“Aaron is in sensational form, and this is the right time to give him a chance to play Test cricket. He has performed well in the Sheffield Shield in recent seasons, and brings added experience and leadership to this group. Travis has improved his game immensely over the past 12 months, and is the type of player we want in this environment. He’s a hard worker who has performed well with the bat in his recent four-day opportunities for Australia A and South Australia.
“Michael is a strong all-round cricketer – he bowls and bats well, and is a mature player coming off a fantastic Sheffield Shield season for Queensland. He has impressed us with his performances for Australia A and in his white-ball opportunities for Australia. Marnus is a young player with plenty of potential and a great work ethic. He has performed well in the Sheffield Shield, has shown he’s a good player of spin for Australia A in India, and is an elite fielder who offers added variety with the ball as a leg-spin option.”
Explaining the decision to pick Doggett, Hohns said: “Brendan is an exciting prospect, a fast bowler with raw pace and wicket-taking ability,” Hohns said. “He provides an additional option to Mitchell Starc if extra pace is called for, and this is an ideal opportunity to get him involved in a national set-up for the first time after his recent showings for Queensland and Australia A.
“There has been significant change to our Test squad, due to the unavailability of a number of key players. That said, we firmly believe the squad selected is up to the challenge ahead, and is capable of playing a brand of cricket that can perform well in this series against Pakistan. There are five potential debutants in the squad, all of whom have earned selection through their performances and deserve this opportunity.
“It’s a blend of experienced players who have a significant amount of either Test or first-class cricket, and a number of younger players who we are confident are ready for the Test arena. Looking at the conditions we may face in the UAE, we believe this squad covers all bases. We have selected four front-line fast bowlers and three spinners, with Mitchell Marsh ready to play as an all-rounder and a number of top-order batsmen who also offer part-time spin options.”
Australia’s Test series against Pakistan gets underway on October 7 in Dubai.
Australia’s Test Squad: Tim Paine (capt, wk), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc